Bangkok Assassins
R2 - United Kingdom - MVM
Review written by and copyright: Samuel Scott (4th February 2014).
The Film

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From the team who choreographed ‘Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life’ and ‘Ong-Bak’ comes this stunning action-packed tale of acceptance, honour and revenge. ‘Bangkok Assassins’ electrifies with its dazzling display of kung fu martial arts when a clan of youths must unite to avenge the death of their Shaolin Master.

Kidnapped from their families and forced to become beggars on the harsh streets of Bangkok, four youths find refuge in a skillful Shaolin Master who teaches them the art of his craft. Learning the ancient secrets, they quickly become a force to be reckoned with.

When tragedy hits the clan as their beloved master is savagely murdered, they will discover that together they are invincible as they unite and fight for justice to stop the man responsible for the death. Vengeance is the path they must follow and nothing had better get in their way!


Independent British specialist label MVM have released Thai film "Bangkok Assassins" (AKA Bangkok Kung Fu) in the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The transfer has been anamorphically enhanced, and although it is a UK release, the disc is NTSC. Unfortunately, the transfer isn't great.

I'm not sure who is charge of quality control over at MVM, but the amount of aliasing and edge enhancement that litters this transfer is terrible for such a new title. The aliasing is noticeable pretty much every time there is any sort of quick movement on screen, and most obvious on clothing, and more detailed objects (such as the judges microphone). One of the worst instances is on the arm which is closing a coffin at 80:42. Colours do not fare all that much better. The transfer is soft throughout, and blacks are far from being deep. Because of these problems, detail also suffers in items not in the foreground. Strangely though, not everything is a mess. Some of the close-ups actually look quite promising, and there are no scratches or blemishes. Whilst the transfer is watchable, it feels like a hatchet job that has been done without any care, simply transferring the cheapest source available. Whether a better transfer is available or not, I don't know, but even the worst films around deserve better than this.

The feature runs 104:10.


There are two audio options available here:
- Thai Dolby Digital 5.1
- English Dolby Digital 5.1

For my viewing, I opted for the original Thai Dolby Digital 5.1 track, the quality of which is of a far higher standard than that of the transfer. The score makes full use of the surrounds from the start, and the subtle effects help engross the viewer in the moment. The swirling winds, the traffic during a blind drive, and the crunches of the action, all make their mark. Channel separation of dialogue from the front speakers is well maintained throughout, and directionality of the effects a tad above average. During several scenes, I switched to the English dub, which did lack the oomph and clarity of the preferred Thai track. There were no audio drop outs or scratches, and no signs of background hiss.

Optional subtitles are available in English, and play by default on the Thai track.


Bonus Trailers:
- "Wushu" (1:59)
- "The Kick" (1:24)
- "The Sword Identity" (0:56)


The Film: C+ Video: D+ Audio: B Extras: E Overall: C


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